News Release 308

Ceremony announced for May 22 grand opening of Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park

Volume 38-308 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Judd Slivka

JEFFERSON CITY, MO., MAY 21, 2010 – Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park near Lesterville will have its grand opening ceremony Saturday, May 22.

The event marks the official reopening of the park, which was heavily damaged in 2005.

The public is invited to attend the 11 a.m. ceremony that will be held in front of the new Black River Center. Gov. Jay Nixon will be the keynote speaker and state and local representatives have been invited to the ceremony. Bill Bryan, director of the department's Division of State Parks, will be the master of ceremonies.

Following the ceremony, the Black River Center will be open for the first time for tours and staff will be available to answer questions. The center serves as the main orientation center for the park and provides exhibits about the natural, cultural and geologic history of the park as well as information on the St. Francois Mountains and surrounding area.

Special guided tours will be available in the afternoon to various areas of the park, including the fen, a specialized wetland area; the East Fork of the Black River, which has been reconstructed; and the scour channel, created by water rushing down Proffit Mountain. If you plan to take a tour, please wear appropriate foot wear, such as hiking boots for the scour channel tour. Visitors can explore the shut-ins, which are the signature feature of the park. The new campground that opened April 30 will be open for the public to tour. In addition to the campsites for basic campers, recreational vehicles, walk-in campers and equestrians, the campground features six camper cabins. A camper cabin will be open for people to tour.

Craft demonstrations and food booths will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the main day-use area of the park. Musical entertainment will be provided and special programs for the children will be held near the Black River Center. A shuttle service will be provided between the campground and various locations in the day-use area so visitors can easily access many of the features in the park.

 The reopening comes four and a half years after the main use area of the park was heavily damaged by the breach of the Taum Sauk Reservoir in December 2005. The day-use area of the park was redeveloped and the campground moved to another location about a mile away from the day-use area. The campground and many of the features and facilities in the day-use area are the result of this redevelopment.

Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park is located on Highway N, eight miles north of Lesterville off Highway 21 or 13 miles south of the Highway 21 and Highway N junction. The day-use area of the park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information about what is available at the park, visit